(Thank me later for getting that LMFAO classic stuck in your head.)
May 6 will mark six months since my return to multiple daily injections (MDI), or, as I like to say, “shots.” Let’s call it like it is, people. It’s sticking a needle in your arm, butt, back, stomach, leg many times per day to deliver life-sustaining medication. It is not a cure, but it gives us life each day.
At a recent doctor’s appointment I proclaimed, “This rollercoaster isn’t working. I need to return to the pump!”
To which my doctor countered, “And you told me the same thing about the pump before you went back on shots, Ally!”
I responded with a stunned face that only a googley-eyed emoticon can convey. My doctor was right. Diabetes is not as simple as insulin pump versus shots versus Afrezza versus whatever floats your boat.
If I have learned anything in the past six months, it is just how different everyone’s diabetes is and just how different our treatment methods may be- whether out of personal choice or simply out of necessity. I’ll give another plug for Spare a Rose here: Most of us in the #doc are blessed to have any access to insulin, never mind the added bonus of having some flexibility in treatment options.
With that said, I know I seem like a broken record about the insulin pump. I want to set things straight here once and for all, while providing an update about my shots journey for those who may be interested.
Insulin pumps, when functioning optimally, are amazing devices. Going on the pump in high school opened up a whole new world to me. My parents breathed a sigh of relief that I could enjoy being a dorky kid with a bit more freedom back then. There are things that I miss immensely about insulin pumping: fine-tuning insulin doses, temporary basals, basal adjustments in one minute flat, carb-count/correction factor/insulin on board “wizards,” stability in blood sugar values on the good days.
If the pump works for you without many issues, all the more power to you. I want you to use whatever makes you feel healthy and happy- the same goals that I want for myself. In my rare case, going on shots had to serve that immediate interest in order to save my health. Do what works for you.
You can achieve a healthy lifestyle on shots, but it is more of a clunky, awkward sort of dance. Once that Lantus is injected, it’s there for the day. On Friday, my pancreas decided to rev up a notch (sarcasm), and for some odd reason I could not get my blood sugar to rise all day despite having taken the same dose of Lantus that I take every single day and hardly bolusing Humalog. I force-fed myself almost all of the leftover Easter candy to no avail. Good Lord did I miss the temp basal feature of the pump then! I longed for the personalized touches of modern technology that brick and mortar insulin injections simply do not afford.
I would ultimately like to ease into an “untethered” regimen of background Lantus in case of pump failures coupled with insulin pump usage again. However, this is quite complex, and we are not quite there with the shots yet. More details need to be worked out in terms of my basal and bolus plans. We are not settled into our comfort zone at this time, but we will get there. For now, we are enjoying the fact that insulin is getting into my body without technological glitches causing ketones each day, a freedom that I will never take for granted again.
Many topnotch brainiac doctors have looked into my pump issues. We know that the product did not work for me personally. But we also know that a pump-centric solution has not yet been provided. Right now, we do not need to add another factor to the equation. We’ll give shots a shot (see what I did there?) for another few months, at least.
I find myself daydreaming about a cure so often now: the party on the tropical island with the entire #doc; the sugary drinks consumed without having to stop and bolus- whether that be via insulin pump or shots; the happy kind of tears.
As a child when that elusive diabetes cure was “ten years away” (cue inside diabetic joke laughter), my father used to tell us about the enormous cure party we would have. There would be a table in the middle of the front yard with a sledgehammer on it. We would smash my blood glucose meter, syringes, and other diabetes supplies into tiny pieces to signify victory over a vindictive disease.
The sentiment was well-intentioned, although today I must admit that I laugh a bit at that particular daydream. If I were cured tomorrow, all of those diabetes supplies would immediately be donated to people who needed them in the interim. The supplies have nobler uses than being crushed by a sledgehammer.
We should be thankful for the supplies that we have keeping us alive right now. If an insulin pump does its job for you, perfect. If Afrezza is your drug of choice, inhale away. If shots suit you better, go for it. However you choose to do so, just fight the good fight until there is a cure.
Please keep those cure daydreams alive by continuing to advocate so well. #weneedacure